In A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean claims that "in my family, there is no clear line between religion and fly-fishing." Nor is there a clear line between family and fly-fishing. It is the one activity where brother can connect with brother and father with son, bridging troubled relationships at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana. In Maclean's autobiographical novella, it is the river that makes them realize that life continues and all things are related.
Just as Norman Maclean writes at the end of A River Runs Through It that he is "haunted by waters," so have readers been haunted by his novella. A retired English professor who began writing fiction at the age of 70, Maclean produced what is now recognized as one of the classic American stories of the 20th century.
Here, with "A River Runs Through It", are two Norman Maclean stories never before on audio:
©1976 A River Runs Through It and Other Stories © 1976 The University of Chicago Press. Recorded by arrangement with John N. Maclean and Jean Maclean Snyder. (P)2010 (p) 2010 HighBridge Company
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"Fly-fishing, US Forest Service, and Life."
As others have noted, there are parts of these stories that are very beautifully written. I rushed through the book, though, and missed some of the finer points. My loss. On the other hand, perhaps some of the points were too subtle for me to catch. I wonder it it’d become more clear to me if I saw the movie...
In any case, the descriptions the author provides of life in small-town Montana and working in the woods with the US Forest Service in the early twentieth century were very interesting. And the fact these details were worked into the stories was neat.
"Loved the Movie- and the Short Story is Better!"
The central short story, "A River Runs Through it"- deals with the themes of love, family, obligation, and the huge challenge of what it is that we can and can't do on behalf of those that we love. Of course, fly fishing is also mentioned a time or two. :)
I loved this and I glad I found it. The themes are timeless and really resonated with me. I can't imagine anybody not thoroughly enjoying these stories.
"Love completely without complete understanding"
“We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.”
― Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
A near perfect novella, carved into a near perfect book; a beautiful thing. That is all I have to say about that. Well, perhaps a literary/geologic inequality as a postscript:
Prose + Structure > Time + Ablation
"Where did the time go??"
I believe that outstanding part of this audio edition came from the Narrator, David Manis. He told the stories with such passion and color that one might think that he was the actual author! It was only when he referenced dates that brought me back to reality.
For me it was when he referenced the father dealing with a person calling a fly "Rod" a pole in much the same same fashion that a United States Marine Corps Sergeant might chastise a Marine recruit calling his rifle a gun...
Color... Passion... It was as if he was the real Norman Maclean...
David Manis... I would really like to understand how he prepared to for the read...
"It resonates long after the read is done."
Luminous Poignant Inspiring
Mclean's cadence; it is as nearly perfect poetry as prose gets. And the reading by David Manis is just right; not rushing but letting the poetry of it move along at it's own pace, somewhat like the river.
Oh so many. They all come alive in your mind's eye . . . you can feel the cold, glacial water on your feet . . . the thirst in the final story . . . it's all there.
I was wishing Mclean had started publishing and writing before he was 70 and that there were many more stories for me to read.
I had actually read this in hardcover several years before and yet, (for one of the very few times in my life) it was better in audio book. You don't need to see the movie (though I understand why he made it). This is better, somehow more personal.
"Oops. I missed the “and other stories”."
I was really lost about half way through and seriously thought the story went far astray. I didn’t realize it was two books in one (or is it three?). Then I looked at the title and realized there was more than one story. I really liked ‘the River’, but only liked a few parts of the second story (poker game one). I never saw the River movie, but this book made me want to for sure. It was beautifully written and narrated. It created an emotional connection. I wanted more of that and therefore was let down by the rest of the book and hence the less than stellar review. The River rates a high 4-star review, but overall the book gets closer to 3.5 stars. Most people will probably buy this for the headliner so I’ll round up to 4 stars and suggest if you know you will be hearing additional stories that maybe you will enjoy the rest more than I.
I enjoyed learning the nuances of fly fishing while listening to an interesting drama, good realistic balance of storytelling.
"Timeless tales, outstanding reader"
The descriptive language is both rich and simple. The people and places have great texture. This is one of the most well-narrated books I have even listened to, and that's out of over 200 titles. What a gem.
"Completely Involving and masterfully narrated."
This is probably the best-narrated book I have ever listened to. The narrator's pace and tone are absolutely perfect for this book: If you didn't know the dates in the book you would think it was the author narrating. Beautiful work.
The Author. Being the older brother he has the wisdom and experience to understand what is going on in his life at the time, a rare gift.
Everything. David Manis has pulled off the perfect feat here. This is easily the best-narrated book I have listened to. Tone, timing, inflection, everything is spot-on. I would listen to a reading of the telephone directory if he were narrating (do they still have those?).
The last chapter. No spoiler here but I think all readers/listeners/viewers will agree.
Highly recommended, although the author's passion for fly fishing does tend to make him go into a lot of detail that might turn non fly fisherman off. Don't let it! The story is well worth it.
This is a collection of several stories. Each intrigued me and I read about the characters with interest. It starts as a fly fishing narrative and continues to document the development of Northern Idaho and Western Montana during the early 20th century. Those people existed and had many adventures that the reader lives through the author. Each story stands alone; the first has been turned into a movie. The others are just as exciting and fulfilling. Too bad the author did not produce many books--he's good.
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